Keith J. Hawksworth, the CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. (PB), the employee-owned engineering, strategic consulting, planning and program/construction management firm founded in New York City in 1885, announced Sept. 17, that the company’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee are recommending to shareholders to approve the acquisition of PB by the London-based infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty plc (BB) for $626 million. PB’s Shareholders’ Meeting was to take place on Oct. 21.
“We have for some time sought a strategic partner that complements the services we provide which would assist us in our on-going global expansion,” Hawksworth said. “Balfour Beatty shares our values, our culture and our commitment to professionalism, integrity and technical excellence – principles that have guided us for nearly 125 years and Balfour Beatty for the last century.”
In a letter to all employees, Hawksworth explained, “The combination [of Balfour Beatty] with PB creates an organization with world-class capabilities in project development (including financing), design, management or delivery of construction services, and the operations and maintenance that can be provided through our combined local office-global footprint.”
James L. Lammie, the chairman of the Board of PB, added, “Balfour Beatty has agreed that Parsons Brinckerhoff will retain its name and organizational structure and operate as an independent but wholly-owned subsidiary. We believe this will allow us to continue to meet our clients’ needs in ways they expect while expanding into new areas that will provide additional opportunities for our employees.”
The two firms are highly complementary, with PB greatly assisting in expanding Balfour Beatty’s vision in becoming a global integrated leader in infrastructure services through the addition of world-class professional services capabilities. Client service will be a prime focus of the combined organization with no changes in project managers, technical staff and/or executive leadership with whom PB’s clients work as a result of the acquisition.
The acquisition must be approved by the shareholders of both organizations.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler said in a taped message to PB employees, “Clients are absolutely the center of what we do…. I’m very excited about bringing the two organizations together. Above all, though, I’m absolutely clear that we need to maintain the brand, the values, the culture, and the processes of Parsons Brinckerhoff as a complete entity.”
In 2008, PB had revenues of $2.34 billion and approximately 13,000 employees in over 100 offices worldwide. The publicly traded Balfour Beatty (London Stock Exchange, BALF.L) has approximately 40,000 employees and last year had revenues of approximately $15 billion.